photo credit: Jackelin Slack
Rise + Refuge Wellbeing
In 2010 I went through treatment for cancer. Illness has a way of distilling our essence and sloughing away the bits we no longer need. We discover new things about ourselves…both subtle and significant. Throughout this process of revealing and removing we arrive someplace new. For me, this took the shape of deep connection to the community of the ill. In 2012 I founded the non-profit, Heal Courageously, as a way to support those in the midst of life-threatening illness. Our small but mighty band of volunteers provides free professional photography sessions to patients, caregivers and survivors as a way of reflecting back to them all that cannot be stolen by illness.
The ripple effect of illness led me to a professional reinvention in 2017 as I faced my need for meaning and value alignment within my work. Rise + Refuge Wellbeing quietly emerged while I pursued certifications as a health and wellness coach and end of life doula, as well as interdisciplinary end of life and palliative care. As a patient, I had a plan. Afterward, I didn’t. I realized the struggle to discover a new sense of wellbeing during and after illness is common. I support people in their discovery and creation of a roadmap to navigate this challenging time. And this can sometimes mean end of life. As a doula, I offer holistic, non-medical support to patients and their loved ones in all aspects of achieving a peaceful death, at home (when possible), on their terms. Because there can be wellbeing in death.
I’ve discovered many things about myself through the lens of illness. While I would never consider illness a gift in my life, I do recognize and honor the way it broke me open to a different way of being. I’ve experienced growth and loss and am continuously stretched by the experience. I am most grateful for my ability to turn toward others when some might turn away. This is the most important discovery I’ve made about myself and I am honored to be of support.
Interest in learning more about how the conversation surrounding death is changing in Salt Lake City, read this related article featuring Michelle Marthia via City Weekly here.
You have the opportunity to move through illness or end of life, on your terms. Find out more about RiseAndRefuge.com